As the start date for the CQC’s new single assessment framework draws ever nearer, there is a frisson of anxiety among many providers about what this will mean for them and their services. This anxiety is not helped by the lack of information available for providers as the CQC themselves grapple with what the new framework will mean for inspections across the board.
That said there is some clarity emerging about what some elements of what the new framework mean if you are prepared to look for it. A recent webinar from the CQC to introduce the quality statements and evidence categories however seemed to suggest that the definition around what evidence is will continue to emerge as the CQC engage with using the new framework.
What the webinar also suggested is that there won’t be any guidance as to what a provider has to do to gain a particular rating against any given quality statement – this is very concerning as it suggests there will be a lack of consistency in the application of the rating process. All providers can do therefore at this time is therefore their very best.
In this blog we will take a look at the evidence category, feedback from staff and leaders and consider what this might mean for providers of social care as well as how Bettal may be able to help.
Remember feedback from staff and leaders is only one of six evidence categories, each of which require the attention of the provider / registered manager:
• People's experience of health and care services
• Feedback from staff and leaders
• Feedback from partners
Feedback from staff and leaders
Under the outgoing regime, CQC inspectors always sought feedback from staff and leaders as part of their on-site inspections as well as feedback garnered through whistleblowing and the like. In reality not much has changed, with the examples the CQC give for where they will seek evidence using this evidence category under the new framework including every one of the quality statements as they are applied to both residential and home care social care settings.
That is to say the evidence used to judge every quality statement will include evidence drawn from feedback from staff and leaders.
This seems to suggest that there will be an increasing role for staff to play in the inspection process. While in the majority of cases this is something perhaps to be welcomed, we are all aware of inspections that have been derailed by staff, and former staff, who have a grudge against a service.
The CQC identify that feedback form staff and leaders includes:
• Results from staff surveys and feedback from staff to their employer
• Individual interviews or focus groups with staff
• Interviews with leaders
• Feedback from people working in a service sent through the CQC’s “Give feedback on care service”
Preparing the service
Given that the voice of staff is going to be heard maybe more so that previously, what can the manager of a service do to ensure that staff are prepared?
First of all managers need to ensure that their culture is one where staff really understand they have a vital role to play in the success or failure of the team. Of course any provider is only as good as their staff, but ensuring every staff member feels like this is a challenge. Managers need therefore to spend time to ensure staff understand the role they play in making their service function well. They also need to ensure staff understand the role they might play in feedback to the CQC and that this will contribute to the evidence by which the whole service, including them, is judged.
Second managers need to gather feedback from staff. Staff surveys, comments, suggestions and exit interviews are all useful intelligence. The wise manager uses these to understand what the members of their team are thinking and accepts that they will have to do some work to address any perceived or real deficits.
Thirdly be seen to be addressing areas which the staff have identified as being of concern. Sometimes this is about acquiescing to what the staff are saying, sometimes it is about re-educating the staff.
Lessons learnt doesn’t only apply to lessons learnt from Service Users and families, any manager forgets this at their peril!
This evidence category is perhaps the one which managers most worry about. Providers often walk a tight line between doing what is right for the Service User and managing the staff team. This sometimes means managers have to do things that staff don’t like and that can sometimes lead to negativity.
Preparing the staff team for their role in providing evidence for the CQC’s new inspection regime requires managers to be open and honest with their teams and to work on the team culture as much as, if not more than, the environment Service Users experience.
Bettal, can help with preparing for inspection and regulatory compliance, for example by providers using our Quality Statements Pre-Inspection Audit tool. If you would like to know more, browse our website or get in touch:
Peter Ellis MA MSc BSc(Hons) RN
Bettal Quality Consultancy